North Korea may have resumed tunneling at nuclear test site - U.S. report | Reuters

WASHINGTON Satellite images show that North Korea may have resumed tunnel excavation at its main nuclear test site, activity seen ahead of the country's most recent nuclear test in January, a U.S. North Korea monitoring website reported on Wednesday. The 38 North website, run by the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said such activity could be carried out as part of preparations for a nuclear test, as was the case in January, or to conceal such preparations.

Reuters April 21, 2016 02:01:50 IST
North Korea may have resumed tunneling at nuclear test site - U.S. report
| Reuters

North Korea may have resumed tunneling at nuclear test site  US report
 Reuters

WASHINGTON Satellite images show that North Korea may have resumed tunnel excavation at its main nuclear test site, activity seen ahead of the country's most recent nuclear test in January, a U.S. North Korea monitoring website reported on Wednesday.

The 38 North website, run by the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, said such activity could be carried out as part of preparations for a nuclear test, as was the case in January, or to conceal such preparations.

It said commercial satellite images of the West Portal of the Punggye-ri test site taken on Tuesday showed two small ore carts on a track crossing a road from a tunnel entrance.

"The presence of the two carts ... and the absence of any notable changes in the spoil pile suggests that tunnel excavation operations are about to resume, or have recently resumed, for the first time this year," the 38 North report said.

The report said the images also showed limited movement of vehicles and equipment at the site's North Portal, where the past three North Korean nuclear tests took place, compared to images taken on April 14.

"These activities by themselves do not establish that test preparations are imminent. However, the possibility of an impending test cannot be ruled out," the report said.

"Pyongyang has clearly demonstrated, with its fourth nuclear detonation this past January, the ability to conduct detonations on short notice while masking indicators of its preparations from satellite view."

38 North reported in early December that satellite photographs from the two previous months indicated North Korea was digging a new tunnel for nuclear testing.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and has vowed to conduct more, despite stepped up international sanctions.

Some experts expect North Korea to conduct a fifth nuclear test in the near future, possibly before a ruling party congress in early May, following an embarrassing failure in the test of an intermediate-range missile last week.

The top U.S. diplomat for the Asia-Pacific region warned on Tuesday that a fifth North Korean nuclear test could trigger new sanctions including an effort to choke off hard currency earnings by its workers abroad.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

also read

Facebook has known for a year and a half that Instagram is bad for teens despite claiming otherwise
World

Facebook has known for a year and a half that Instagram is bad for teens despite claiming otherwise

Facebook's policy of pursuing profits regardless of documented harm has sparked comparisons to Big Tobacco, which knew in the 1950s that its products were carcinogenic but publicly denied it into the 21st century

Facebook's internal research revealed that Instagram is harmful for teens
News & Analysis

Facebook's internal research revealed that Instagram is harmful for teens

According to Facebook, parents can help by repeatedly talking to their teens about the difference between appearance and reality.

Daughter kidnapped by father reunites with mother after 14 years through Facebook
World

Daughter kidnapped by father reunites with mother after 14 years through Facebook

Their official meeting or reunion took place on Monday (13 September) in Texas, but the two had earlier met at the border last week. They met each other after communicating on social media.